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Why Does God Allow Failure?

By Dr. Charles Stanley

For the believer, every failure can be a stepping stone to success.

Failure is an ugly word. No one likes it. Everyone is subject to its attacks. There are no ideal situations in which failure cannot become a reality. The first man and woman God created were placed in an environment perfectly suited for them. And yet they failed miserably. Throughout the Scriptures, many of God's servants suffered failures. The most successful men and women in history have experienced failure. Why do some who fail at first go on to succeed while others do not? Those who eventually succeed are the ones who understand the difference between temporary defeat and failure. They look beyond life's occasional setbacks and refuse to be completely undone by the obstacles that confront them.

How to Avoid Failure

Matthew 7:24-27 shows us a vivid picture of both success and failure. Two men built a house, one on a foundation of rock, the other on sand. When the inevitable storms unleashed their fury, one house stood and the other fell. In this simple parable we find two principles that can protect us from lasting failure in our personal, family, business, and spiritual lives.

First, always build upon the strong, immovable foundation of truth. Any aspect of life that violates truth is doomed to failure. It may stand for a season, but eventually it will collapse. The truth of Scripture should be our guide in business, as well as in family life. Detours around truth and honesty lead to disappointing and, often, surprising failure.

Second, build for the storms. They are inevitable. What you build will be tested. The consequences of shoddy work, laziness, dishonesty, though well hidden, will unavoidably bring failure tomorrow. You cannot escape the eternal principle: "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that will he also reap" (Galatians 6:7).

Why Does God Allow Us to Fail?
The causes of some failures are not quite as clear as others. When we have given our best, why does God allow us to experience failure?

God is not the cause of our failure though He does allow it. Even though we are His children and want what is best, why do we still experience failure? We do not always know what is best. Then, sometimes, we allow ourselves to become sidetracked. Our priorities get out of order; our motivation becomes selfish; Christ is no longer the center of our lives. Failure is God's way of getting our attention, humbling us, disciplining us, and bringing us back to Himself. Sometimes God uses a painful failure to express His fatherly love toward us.

Remember, there is a difference between failing and being a failure. It is never God's intention to make us become failures. However, He sometimes allows us to fail today in order to bring us success tomorrow. God has planted in your every defeat the seeds of your future success. Successful people are those who apply God's remedy for failure: humbling themselves before Him in repentance, surrending to His will and His goals for their lives. For the believer, every failure can be a stepping stone to success.

For further insights, read the following passages:

Genesis 11:3-8
Numbers 14:40-45
Joshua 7:3-12

Adapted from "Priority Profiles for Today's Workplace" by Charles F. Stanley.

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

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